Will Coleman piloted the Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines to double clear finish over Marc Donovan’s show jumping course to win the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* division at Richland Park Horse Trials.
It was only the nine-year-old Thoroughbred’s second attempt at this level, but “Phish” proved himself a serious competitor, grabbing second place after the dressage phase and holding it after a super soaked cross-country day.
Finishing the weekend with a double clear show jump pleased Coleman enough, but taking home the blue was just the cherry on top. “He tries his guts out; he always does,” Coleman remarked. “He almost tries too hard sometimes, but he’s a great Thoroughbred like that.” He certainly took advantage of his Thoroughbred blood all weekend, and Coleman admitted he still felt fresh this morning. “Honestly I was holding him back a little bit,” he laughed.
His ride today wasn’t without a good scare though, as he and Phish slipped on the grass footing and nearly fell between fences four and five. Fortunately, the keen Thoroughbred was quick to catch himself, and very professional as he continued to jump nimbly through the rest of the course.
With their abilities and endurance tested, the pair will cruise along this fall with their sights set on the CCI3* at Fair Hill International in October. “It’s great to win a CIC3*, but at the end of the day you try to build up and bring your best out at the three-day event, so we’re still trying to keep as much as we can in the tank for Fair Hill and try to give that as a competitive a go as we can,” he said. “It’s been that kind of weekend here at Richland. You had to kind of grit your teeth and deal with some elements weather-wise, footing-wise and stuff like that. That’s part of what being an event rider is all about.”
Whitney Mahloch and Military Mind, the leaders of the CIC3* division after cross-country, started with a positive round, but picked up two rails before having a stop to drop them down the leaderboard.
Caroline Martin finished in second place aboard her mother, Sherri Martin’s Spring Easy. She and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse had a respectable 48.5 in the dressage phase giving them third place. They then went on to have a very successful trip around Ian Stark’s cross-country and finished only three seconds over optimum time. The double clear show jumping bumped the pair up for a red ribbon finish.
Colleen Rutledge wrapped up the top three with her own Escot 6. This pair had one of the most impressive climbs up the leaderboard this weekend. They began in 12th after scoring a 55 in the pouring rain. The Hanoverian then made easy work of the cross-country course only adding 2.8 time penalties, and came into the show jumping bright-eyed and ready for another clear jump round.